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Hold out vs. Sold out: Connecting the dots between 2008 and 2010 (Part II)

(Part II of II. Continued from Part I.)

Disaffected Democrat

Hillary’s holdouts were not some political zombie species with two heads (that two-headed zombie would be Washington with its Ds and Rs).

Paul Douglas in 1932, as quoted in the WSJ (H/T Gmanedit):

“Back in 1932, the future Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas advised progressives not to expect too much from the Democratic Party. It was, he wrote, ‘maintained by the business interests’ as a kind of ‘lifeboat.’ Whenever the GOP ship sprung a leak—whenever Republicans were no longer willing or able to do business’s bidding—the interests simply piled into the other party and made their escape.”

Hillary’s holdouts were disaffected Democrats who saw that the GOP had sprung that leak and Wall Street had piled into the Obama party to make its escape.

May 31, 2008: We could no longer pretend the Democratic party was the lesser of two evils.

The Dems had an obvious vested interest in delegitimizing any backlash against the party in 2008 (same as they do in 2010). They dismissed anyone who bucked party unity (whether that meant protest voting, voting third party, or abstaining altogether) as a raycist Republican ratfrakker or a vagina voting harridan. This smear campaign in turn made it easier for various elements to co-opt the PUMA banner for reasons other than what it was intended when it was coined.

If getting Democrats to agree is like herding cats, that cliché goes double for organizing disaffected Democrats.

PUMA was a wild child. It suffered for being a truly spontaneous overnight uprising from the grassroots in response to events happening quickly on the ground and in real time (the primaries, WWTSBQ, RBC ruling). With no headstart and not enough time in the wilderness yet to catch up organizationally, we were no match for the deep pockets and entrenched power structures running the show in DC. The Obama Left maligned us from one side while the Clinton-hating Vast Right Wing manipulated the message from the other. Raw emotions and hardening of attitudes (both pro and anti Obama) along false lines (either you’re with us or you’re against us) took care of the rest. All the activism, smears, and co-optation eventually caved in on itself.

By the time the election was over, I had outgrown the rallying cry of “party unity my ass.” What once began as a vehicle for disenfranchised voters to conscientiously reject a party that had left us behind…had become flypaper for interests that diverged quite far from my own as a disaffected Democrat. Everything had become so rigid on all sides. Just days after Obama was elected, I got kicked off a blog in the pumasphere for not being anti-Obama enough. But, I was still too much of a dissident for the Obama Left.

I opted to move forward as an independent—one who leans liberal in terms of policy but is disillusioned with the Democratic party, as well as with the progressive movement today. It seems to be overrun by opportunists using progressivism selectively as the means to win power for the sake of itself rather than using power as the means to reach progressive ends.

Present-day progressives act as if their creative class bullshit is better simply because it sounds more polished. They see their glossy reflections in the mirror of Obama and think the song is about them. In their eyes, the Democratic party saying buh bye to Bubbas is an electoral win. Substance is a moot point. If you dare to even raise an eyebrow as to why the latest iteration of progressivism looks more and more like privatization, Obamapologists are bound to accuse you of asking questions out of economic resentment, political ignorance or obstinacy, primary sour grapes, latent racism, or Debbie Downer handwringing. Bittergate lives on. Their audacity to persist in their Hope-coma at the cost of not seizing any opportunity to advance the policy argument to the left is stunning. Their ability to suspend critical thought altogether and focus the harshest and most sustained of their attacks on the disenfranchised (the unwashed masses of Walmart who vote against their own fat ass interests, oh the humanity!) while excusing the people in power (pols will be pols!) is just sad. I regret that I was once a part of their tribe.

There is one Corporate party in American politics these days. It has two wings—D and R. Both are corrupt. The difference is that I once expected more out of the Democratic wing.

Revisiting the Protest: What Not Voting Obama was Really About

Withholding support from the Dems and/or protest voting in 2008 was widely misunderstood—it wasn’t about jumping on the GOP train and adopting its politics. At least not for me, nor for the overwhelming majority of the Hillary holdouts I know. Protesting was our way of standing up to a party that we realized had been continually selling out the interests we cared about and saying, “where else ya gonna go? If you don’t vote for us, you will end up with the party that is 2% more evil and it will be the apocalypse.”

Furthermore, here’s the real difference between an Obama presidency and a McCain presidency. If McCain had tried to pass the health insurance bill that Obama just passed, virtually everyone on the left would have been able to correctly identify that it was a Republican bill and that codifying the Hyde amendment is an affront to women’s rights. Instead the Obama Left is cheering it on while disappointed progressives and women’s organizations are too timid, weak, or unable to kick the koolaid themselves to really take Obama and Pelosi on for selling out the American left and American women.

In other words, left-wing opposition has been diffused in the age of Obama while corporatist policies continue. The right-wing, expedient as ever, is mining the backlash toward these policies. Even though these policies are very much the GOP’s own type of corporatist mush and the GOP is probably laughing their asses off behind closed doors, these are policies happening under the Democratic brand. These anti-Democratic policies get rebranded as left, the right rails against them saying they aren’t right-wing enough, taking what was supposed to be an era of progressive realignment in the other direction. Which makes it all the more revealing that Obama and the Dems persevere in their farcical appeals to bipartisanshit only to ignore their own liberal base (what Rahm really meant was that the left is fookin neutered). That is change I could have lived without and I voted accordingly. I knew the left was getting punk’d.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

The current Democratic leadership (Obama, Pelosi, Reid) has made a mockery of the Democratic agenda that I had once been able to envision as the light at the end of the Bush-Cheney years.

We’ll never know what kind of president Hillary would have been. But, I feel pretty confident that if she had proposed a mandate without a public option and used abortion rights as a bargaining chip, she would have had her feet held to the fire for it. I doubt Noam Chomsky would have said he would have held his nose to vote for it if it were Hillary’s second attempt at healthcare reform, either. For reasons of character, history, and the heightened expectations placed on her as a woman, Hillary would have had more to prove and less room for error than Obama.

“In legislation no bread is often better than half a loaf.”

“Half a loaf, as a rule, dulls the appetite and destroys the keenness of interest in attaining the full loaf. A halfway measure never fairly tests the principle and may utterly discredit it. It is certain to weaken, disappoint, and dissipate public interest. Concession and compromise are almost always necessary in legislation, but they call for the most thorough and complete mastery of the principles involved, in order to fix the limit beyond which not one hair’s breadth can be yielded.

–-the late Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette, Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator

Hillary had been in the arena of healthcare reform long enough to know that limit. And, I wouldn’t put it past the sippy cup crowd to actually have primaried her as a sitting president if she had yielded one hair’s breadth beyond it. Nor would I have been surprised to see Michael Moore himself start a killbill movement. Most of the people cheering Obama on for his corporatist crumb would have had a helluva time giving Hillary her due for her ¾ a liberal loaf. And, you know what? That wouldn’t have necessarily been a bad thing in my books. It would have kept the pressure on her to do more.

Similarly, Hillary wouldn’t have gotten a Nobel Peace prize while escalating troops in Afghanistan. Nor would McCain have gotten one, for that matter–and, that wouldn’t have been the end-of-the-world if we were going to have more of the same anyway. We might as well have had the opposition to it not only alive and well but the loudest of it coming from a left-of-center perspective.

What is done is done, but it is also prologue.

Regardless of whether we voted for Obama or not, there is a consensus emerging on the left that the Democrats are throwing away an FDR moment after 8 years of GOP Fail and turning it into a RWR (Reagan) moment. And, yet there is still a divide. In the eyes of those on the other side of it, those of us who did not vote for Obama are irrelevant because Obama won without our votes. But, how relevant are their voices if they are making it a given that they will come home in 2012?

While those of us who bucked party unity and those who bowed to it disagreed strongly on voting strategy in the 2008 general election, more often than not those of us who share the same basic political space on the left (FDR-style liberalism) agree about the sorry state of the Democratic party and the agenda they are pushing in 2010.

The longer the activist left completely disregards the option of holding out as a valid voting strategy while shunning anyone disaffected enough to exercise that option, the more the left will be sold out.

131 Responses

  1. Wow, wonk that’s really thought provoking! You’ve crystallized a lot of what folks around here feel very succinctly!

  2. Seldom does a ‘sequel’ come close to the original, but in this case I must say that Part II is even better than Part I, if that is possible. I especially enjoyed your quotes from Paul Douglas and Robert LaFollette….if only one of today’s politicians were even a fraction as honest it would be like a breath of fresh air.

    The article could have entirely omitted the PUMA story, but weaving them together….the generalized sellout by the DEM party and the particularly odious strategy used to marginalize opponents from the “real left” in the 2008 election was superb.

    Lots of good folk on several different blogs are tippy toeing around the issue of whether or not to go a third party route. I left the Dems after Kerry wimped out on contesting the 2004 results and have not looked back (except to temporarily reregister as a D to vote for Hillary in the primary).

    Diagnosis of a problem, even as incisively done as your analysis, is still but a prelude to figuring out how the hell to implement progressive values. I’m as flumoxed as the next person when it comes towhat to do next.

    • There are still a lot of folks left around that don’t want to admit what they voted for and what they are getting. I’m certain that they didn’t know they got some one so squarely in the corporate sidepockets. The juicy rationalization for passing what are-at best–warmed over republican moderate policies is just beyond me. I can’t understand why Republicans or Democrats of good will don’t see that.

    • I especially enjoyed your quotes from Paul Douglas and Robert LaFollette….if only one of today’s politicians were even a fraction as honest it would be like a breath of fresh air.

      Diagnosis of a problem, even as incisively done as your analysis, is still but a prelude to figuring out how the hell to implement progressive values. I’m as flumoxed as the next person when it comes towhat to do next.

      Thanks for the kind words, and these are great points. I think there is going to be a “throw the incumbents out” mentality driving the electorate for multiple election cycles until someone starts speaking the language of the grassroots *and* putting their actions where their words are. I just hope that person does it more from a left-wing perspective than a right-wing one.

  3. I’m sure glad to read this:

    “There is one corporate party in American politics these days. It has two wings–D and R. Both are corrupt. The difference is that I once expected more out of the Democratic wing.”

    Because it’s what I believe and have posted on a variety of sites. Democrats generally don’t like to hear it; Obamatrons refuse to hear it. But that doesn’t make the premise false.

    And I agree: had Hillary won, we would have had a different outcome in healthcare reform. She may not have gotten everything she wanted and yes, she would indeed have been pilloried by the Right [surprise, surprise] but also by the Left, particularly the faux-progressives.

    However, it’s almost laughable [sad for many others, myself included] to see and hear the pretzel-twisting logic that Obamatrons use to apologize, explain and rationalize not only errors from this Administration but the non-existent leadership and out-in-the-open betrayal.

    On the other hand, I see no reason to have a knee-jerk reaction and swear allegience to the Republican side of the corporate coin. Unless we’re suffering from selective amnesia, we still should be able to remember Bush&Co–8 years in the WH and the decade-long control over Congress.

    A complete and utter disaster!

    For myself, I will either vote third party [and no I’m not talking Tea Party]. Or I will not vote at all because I support neither wing: the corporate jackasses or pacaderms.

    What a mess! Thanks for the article. A good one.

    • For myself, I will either vote third party [and no I’m not talking Tea Party]. Or I will not vote at all because I support neither wing: the corporate jackasses or pacaderms.

      I’m with you. I don’t know how we get all the way out of this mess, but I’m pretty sure that holding onto the myth that we have no place else to go is a sure-fire way to stay stuck in it.

      • I love that—“holding onto the myth that we have no place else to go is a sure fire way to stay stuck in it”.

        The sad thing is that because people are flummoxed there is tremendous inertia against starting a new 3rd party or political force that might counteract this. Those conversations have happened frequently here and it always winds up in the same place—nowhere, a non-starter.

      • I think it’s important to be counted, and staying home doesn’t do that. I’ve been thinking of voting like this:

        1. Top of the ticket national races blank (all cases, even the “good” ones)

        2. At state and local level, third party, no matter what, if available

        3. Otherwise, whoever is not the incumbent

        The spectacle of Kucinich actually whipping the House floor for an HCR bill he’s opposed in principle only the day before — did Obama leave a pony’s head in his bed? — should disabuse anybody of the notion that more and better Ds is the answer; Kucinich was the better D.

        • Kucinich was the last straw for me. When he gave up the vote for a plane ride, my thought was: either they had something on the man or he was all hat to begin with. Either way, it meant that even a man who “seemed” a true progressive and an actual Democrat could be bought off.

          Btw, I like your suggestions for approaching the 2010 & 2012 voting cycle. I’ve always voted but I simply won’t give credence to or support the betrayal that’s going on right now.

          And yes wonk, agreed again. We need to get out of this mindset that there’s nowhere else to go.

  4. Wonderful! Thanks Wonk.

  5. awsome post this one is very very good
    we need to rember what happened in 08 and why we did what we did

  6. Great summation, Wonk!

  7. But don’t forget, Obama has undone 400 years of racism.

    (Yes-that’s a joke.)

    • Sigh, yup, undone it so much that the Democratic faithful can’t conceive of people protesting him for any other reason than racism.

      • Yeah, I’d bring up his stance on nuclear power (for) and impeachment (against; has to be for very “grave” actions/sic) and get the automatic: “Is it because he’s black?” So tiresome.

        Once or twice I said, “No, it’s because he’s male.” But none of the Obots ever picked up that was a (bitter) joke about Obama’s misogyny.

  8. Great job, Wonk! You’re an excellent writer!

  9. Hillary’s holdouts were disaffected Democrats who saw that the GOP had sprung that leak and Wall Street had piled into the Obama party to make its escape.


  10. Very nice.
    As for our votes being irrelevant – I doubt it. For all the hype and historical hoopla Obama didn’t get more votes than Kerry did in 2004. It was McCain who got 10% less of the votes Bush did (or was said to have gotten). In other words, this election was really decided by GOP-ers staying home (see deals Obama did with religious right).
    That 10% may come back to play in November. Will the recently awake B0bots follow the shiny objects shown to them, or stay home like the GOP 10% in 2008? Stay tuned.
    No matter how many times they steal my vote, I shall always treat it as relevant.

    • this election was really decided by GOP-ers staying home

      the GOP’ers know how to hold out.

    • No matter how many times they steal my vote, I shall always treat it as relevant.

      That’s my rallying cry too!

      And anyone who has ~49% of the vote against him doesn’t have a big majority.

  11. Yet another great post, Wonk.

    To me an important question is *why* Obama is such an icon to the progs and Hillary and those of us who supported her are such goats. If anything, Hillary’s policies are to the left of Obama’s and more representative of what the left believes in, so why was and is he so important? It’s not enough to say they don’t want to admit the mistake they made. Why did they do it in the first place?

    I have a lot of trouble framing the questions I want to ask and I don’t even know if I just succeeded in the slightest, but the dynamics of the process are eerily familiar to me and I have utter contempt for them.

    • Because brand Obama was sold as such on the teevee. remember this excellent piece?

      Barack Obama is a brand. And the Obama brand is designed to make us feel good about our government while corporate overlords loot the Treasury, our elected officials continue to have their palms greased by armies of corporate lobbyists, our corporate media diverts us with gossip and trivia and our imperial wars expand in the Middle East. Brand Obama is about being happy consumers. We are entertained. We feel hopeful. We like our president. We believe he is like us. But like all branded products spun out from the manipulative world of corporate advertising, we are being duped into doing and supporting a lot of things that are not in our interest.

      Same people told us Hillary was bad, so they bought that too.

      • Thanks, edge. That is definitely part of it. Brand name advertising. The children of the TV age. What idiots they are for buying the hype. I stopped watching TV when I was about 10. Not completely, but to a great extent. I just hope and pray that if I had been watching I would not have bought that “brand” too. I don’t think so, but then I don’t watch enough to know.

      • Madison Ave. did a great job convincing people progressives that the brand of relative peace and prosperity was the one to despise most.

    • because people have no clue who Obama is and who Hillary is and what experience they had or how they voted in congress. They only know what the TV guys say and what they blogs say they should think of Hillary and Obama.
      they are ignorant sheep.

      • Including Sally Quinn lite. 🙂

      • Though Hillary managed to win the popular vote in the primaries. It really goes back to those Dems politicoes who knifed the rank-and-file Dem voters with caucus fraud, the RBC tyranny, the intimidation of superdelegates and of state delegates.

    • And because they had already defined her as the Worst Democrat to Ever Live, Joe Lieberman in a Dress and all the rest of it from at least 2003, if not before. After working up such a head of steam on this and singling her out for years, it was very difficult to climb down and say hey, know what? Hillary may not be Theoretical Ideal Candidate, but, err, she is better than the other actual candidates. They were trapped in their Goody Proctor is a witch narrative and had to stick with it and pretend that the nearest person with a penis was indeed, TIC.

    • They did it to be cool. Hillary was Tracy Flick. Obama was their prom king.

      • Yeah, but they pretty much hated him too, right up until it was him or her.

      • Yeah, bet Tom voted for Obama. This country is not ready for a woman president, and that’s a depressing realization.

  12. Excellent!

  13. Spot on!

  14. Nice post.
    I just finished the book– Notes from the Cracked Ceiling,
    Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and what it will take for a woman to win
    By Ann Kornblut
    I don’t agree with everything in the book, but much of it validates what we already learned during the primaries. I have to say the author is pessimistic about a woman’s chance for POTUS, and I don’t think she came up with the answer in the book either.
    It makes me think about what exactly we will need to do next time, and how to get young women to vote for a woman. I liked the following quote fom the book.
    Robin Morgan, the former editor of Ms. Magazine, ordered young women to stop “wringing their hands because Hillary isn’t as likable as they’ve been warned they must be. Grow the hell up,” Morgan wrote.

    • But didn’t Robin Morgan jump on the Obama fluffing Palin bashing bandwagon? I think she’s one of the feminists who, to her credit and to much prog dude whining and gnashing of teeth, stuck with Hill but then to compensate went overboard on Goody Palin is a witch and saw no problem at all with Misogynyfest 2008: Fall Sequel. *sighs*

    • greenfun: thanks for your comments–glad you brought up the glass ceiling. It’s fitting that Kornblut would be so pessimistic since she was an active part of the media slime machine that stood in the way of Hillary in the first place. And, Robin Morgan (as Seriously pointed out) tried to overcompensate for her Hillary support by propping up Obama once he became the nominee, not only dehumanizing Palin but saying things like “Do not cut off your womb to spite Dems,” do not sit out the election, do not write in anyone, do not vote third party, etc.

      • Yeah, I gathered from the book that Kornblut participated in all the BS, especially when she said Obama did Hillary a favor when he selected her for SOS, which enabled her to rehabilitate her reputation.
        I guess I am trying to read and learn as much as I can-even from people who were $%$#@% up, so that I can be better prepared next time. There has to be a way to unite women so that the sort of shit that went down in the primaries doesn’t repeat itself.

  15. Awesome job.

  16. I wandered on the Taylor Marsh blog and she really will piss you off MORE! her main point about Hillary was that she used men’s words in saying that all bets are off! man she is crazy. she repeated this throughout her article , as if in standing up more than obama wasn’t good enough because of these words. she is definately in denial about her leader.

    • I thought the SecDef made the “all bets are off” statement and Hillary agreed.

    • Turning women into the bad guys is the standard way to prop Obama up, after all.

      Obama’s indecisiveness on everything but more war, more torture, and more lies isn’t what a feminist sounds like to me, but to each her own.

      • Come on—he is even indecisive about more war etc. He only decided when his own a$$$ got in the sling. It’s all about the polls. When he gets tough and “presidential” he gains a little in the polls or at least stops sliding. Remember his Hamlet moments over Afghanistan?

      • Obama’s decisive:

        1. Normalizing torture

        2. Bailing out the insurance companies with HCR

        3. Bailing out the banks with TARP, normalizing the $22 trillion bailout, and no financial reform

        4. Nada on unemployment.

        5. Nada on housing, especially HOLC.

        I reject all narratives of D weakness. Obama and the Ds are doing exactly what they want. They’re just neo-liberals, after all.

        The difference between the two legacy parties:

        1. The Rs are up front: They want to kill the weak.

        2. The Ds have the same policy goal, but wish to attribute it to impersonal forces that they cannot control (which the narratives of weakness play into).

  17. Great post, Wonk. Remembering it all again just makes me sad. I don’t think I’ve got in me for any more fighting for women’s rights. I think it will be more constructive to simply watch the grass grow.

    • It’s become one of those Serenity prayer situations–control the things you can and let go of the things you can’t. Very sad that the rights and advancement of American women is now seen as beyond our control. I haven’t given up myself, but I know others think it’s futile to invest personally in the issue anymore and I understand.

      The world has Hillary, who will say women’s rights should be a given;

      we have Pelosi, who will negotiate her way into the history books as a powerful speaker… on our backs.

      Dakinikat wrote a heartwarming post last month about Sonia Gandhi and women in India fighting back and making inroads. Wish we had that sense of momentum here. 2008’s open season on women (not just on women pols, but on women voters and women’s issues) never really stopped. It was the road to Stupakistan.

      I often think back to Hillary at the convention, citing Harriet Tubman’s example and saying…

      “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”

      The powers that be want us to become apathetic, but I can’t stop caring.

  18. Wow, very well done! {{lifts head from piles of late work to see what’s happening, puts head back into work}}

  19. Unfortunately the garbage truck has already pulled away from the dump leaving that opportunity on the pile to be pecked away at by the vultures and gnawed into soil by insects.

    • Your comment reminds me of My Best Friend’s Wedding:

      Julia Roberts: I’m pond scum. Well, lower actually. I’m like the fungus that feeds on pond scum.
      Dermot Mulroney: Lower. The pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.

      What’s lower? The “creativeness” that sanitizes corporatism by putting next to it a smiley face that infects the Obama “Left” that feeds on Ronald Reagan’s ghost.

      • It has already begun. Bob Schrum has an article at RCP claiming Obama will be a “great” president, in the Ronald Reagan sorta way.

        Absolutely stunning.

        • What a joke. But, then Shrum is a joke.

          Talking points like that aren’t going to impress or win back the right-leaning independents that are running away from O, and they’ll just piss off the left-leaners who are going independent. These “great president” memes just give the chattering classes something to fill the empty space with.

        • What the hell is wrong with these people? LOL, he wasn’t even a good President. The man had Alzheimers disease by the time he ran for his second term. Here’s a guy that became a Republican when he hit the marginal tax rate, and spent the rest of his life trying to make sure no rich person would ever have to face anything close to serious taxation again. I mean, this was his main driving force in seeking public office. He was a disaster.

      • Hooray for marketing. 😉

  20. I just hope (that’s non-trademark hope) that in 2010 and 2012 there is some kind of unified response so that third parties become viable alternatives to the Reps and Dems. I voted Green in 2008, but I don’t see any kind of movement toward a viable third party. I will keep voting AGAINST both R and D, and I see that as a message, as this post articulates. I don’t feel it’s wasting my vote or spoiling anything. But I wonder if there is no way to win.

    • The only sure thing is there is no way to win voting for the legacy parties. Voting for a 3rd party, or your pet, is no more a wasted vote than voting for those abominations.

      • Not voting for my pet. ERA is my candidate. For all offices, this November.

      • Legacy parties vs pet? …..hmmmm. Voting for either is just as pointless really. Put me down for Fluffy . I’ll respect myself in the morning more.

  21. Mess with their heads and say you’re for Jesse and Ralph

  22. Speaking of messing with people’s heads, Democrats now plan to run as…outsiders?
    You day in irony – and schadenfreude too.

    • That article is just too funny, edge. So, now the Dems will try jumping on Brown’s wingtips–the outsiders fighting the good fight?


      To what lengths will desperation take them? They should have thought about this before they betrayed every Democratic principle in the book. I’ll weep no tears [I’m still too bitter, one of those deadenders :0)].

  23. Really a wonderful article, Wonk – this is going on FB along with Part 1.

  24. Here’s a editorial from a black newspaper. Circulation is east bay area..


    • That’s unfortunate. He had better commentary during the election.

    • WTF happened to him? Is he kidding me? FDR? That Kool aid is strong stuff.

    • How does he figure that?

      a drastically retooled consumer-friendly health care reform law — that is not the pharmaceutical and private health insurer goody-laden bill from six months ago —

      It’s the same bill that Senate voted on. So Obama gets to be both Reagan and FDR? Desert topping and floor wax then?

    • On a personal level, one should note Obama’s magnificent gesture of donating every penny of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award to solid charities and community organizations and causes. The big banks and Wall Street could learn a lesson from this example.

      Magnificent gesture? What was he going to do. Keep the money, in addition to the premature prize for having done nothing. There’s nice love here, not analysis.

      • Wow, Earl got on some serious Kool Aid. I hate to remind him Obama became an absolute millionaire running for President by pimping not 1, not 2, but three books over the course of his campaign. Color me unimpressed.

      • Big banks and Wall Street could learn a lesson….

        Ahahhahaha. What alternate universe would that be in?

  25. Great Article. It all seems so clear to us … I truly wonder at the self-delusion of the Dems.

  26. I heard from a friend of mine…Hillary is in the running for SC justice 🙂

  27. Great post, wonk. Thanks. Since you were kind enough to link back to WWTSBQ at Corrente, I’d like to proffer a few more memes for your eviscerating pleasure:

    1. “Creative class” (I always use the irony quotes) comes from

    2. career “progressive” and

    3. access blogger

    4. Chris Bowers’s classic post, which, I think, we should always link to since it makes the nature of the D faction that he represents (and which funds him) so clear.

    It’s also hard to know how to refer to the political parties. I prefer to write:

    1. legacy parties, or

    2. D, or R.

    “Legacy parties” because political parties really don’t last forever. The Whigs didn’t, the Federalists didn’t, and the legacy parties (which prop each other up via the ratchet effect) won’t.

    “D” and “R” because “Democrat[ic]” and “Republican” have long histories, people identify with them, they’ve been picking sides based on them for generations, and they’re hate triggers. “D” and “R” are far more neutral, and the use of single letters highlights their fundamental similarities (and resemblance more to sports teams that pass legislation and allocate rents to rent seekers more than anything else).

    I’m not being prescriptive here! Take what you like and leave the rest. However, as an old school blogger, I remember 2003-2006 when there was a real consciousness that words were weapons, and a great deal of sharpening of the discourse took place, at large blogs and small. As soon as the high traffic access bloggers turned into “meme laundries” (there’s another one) for D factions, all that stopped, but I think it’s still necessary to do, which is why I’m sharing in this lengthy comment.

    Thanks again for a great post.

  28. One comment:

    Wonk writes: I regret joining their tribe.

    I think we should regret joining any tribe. Once we go tribal — a very human tendency that we all share — we’re placing the tribe above evidence and reasoning as values. But evidence — especially the evidence of our own eyes — and reasoning are the only political tools that come for free; an insurgent movement can’t afford to surrender them, especially since it’s unlikely to be able to afford much else!

  29. Thanks, Wonk – I was away at a conference all last week and this is the first post I’ve read since leaving – you’ve totally nailed my feelings. Great post!

  30. Great post.

    A short llip from the documentary about Nadar…’An Unreasonable Man’….which also highlights your points.

    Lawrence O’Donnell….

    “If you want to pull the major party which is closest to the way you’re thinking…to what you’re thinking…..you must….YOU MUST…show them you are capable of not voting for them…”

    William Greider….

    “Because the way the Democratic Party is run now for quite a number of presidential cycles. Is they pick a nominee in a kind of half-assed process that doesn’t really represent much of anybody….”

    A bit more at link…

  31. Hillary Clinton as Supreme Court Justice? Speculation About Clinton Among Potential High-Court Nominees

    “I happen to like Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I think she’s done a good job for the Democrat secretary of state’s position, and I have a huge respect for her and think a great deal of her.”

    Hatch is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on the future Supreme Court nominee and decide whether to pass the nomination onto the full Senate for an up-or-down vote.

    The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., appearing with Hatch this morning, said he’s also fond of Clinton but did not elaborate on her chances as a nominee.

    “I think she’s done a good job for the country, not just for Democrats,” he said.

    But not everyone agrees that Clinton would be a good fit on the court or even receive a realistic chance at nomination.
    “I don’t think anyone seriously think she’s under consideration,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group.

    “She’d be a polarizing figure. She’s such a political person,” she said. “It would be a worst-case scenario to nominate such a judicial activist … she lives and breathes politics.”
    Clinton emphatically said in October she has “absolutely no interest” in another presidential bid, telling ABC News’, “I mean, I know that’s hard for some people to believe, but, you know, I just — I just don’t…”


    • Hillary Clinton, always the polarizing figure….LOL.

    • Just another occasion to take a swipe at Hillary Clinton. And OMG, she’s a “political” person. Which only means she has a heartbeat.

      Truth is, Hillary Clinton at SCOTUS would scare the bejesus out of conservatives. For the faux-Dems, it would certainly take her off the playing field. And though I have great respect for Hillary Clinton, I’d like to see her out of this Administration. It’s absolutely toxic. She’s too good and has too much to offer to go down with the Titanic.

      Of course, if things proceed as they are, we may all go down.

    • I doubt Hillary’s interested in being on SCOTUS. She’s Secretary of State, and when she’s done being Secretary of State she’ll be an emeritus stateswoman. The left and the right establishment just want to push her off into relative obscurity compared to the level she’s reached and the level for which her talents were meant. Hillary is an international treasure. Her voice was meant to be heard, not just in print, and her face meant to be seen, not just in courtroom sketches. It’s one thing if someone actually supported her for president to want to see her on SCOTUS, but the chattering classes didn’t think she had the “judgment” to be president yet they’re eager to have her wield the power of a Supreme Court justice. So see-through. They still see her as a threat.

      • Very well said, per usual. In the make up of this court, she’d be simply quarantined …that’s what DC wants. No can do. This is like the laughable idea of Hill giving up seeking the white house for the governorship of NY, remember that one? lol!

  32. Something just doesn’t smell right about Hatch bringing up Hillary for Scotus…I just remember Brazoid saying that Hillary will be right there when we inaugurate the first woman President…

  33. I’m not voting for Democrats or Republicans anymore. What’s the point? I’m now hearing the Democrats are considering a VAT tax. Seriously. Until these absolute mofo’s want to give us services that match european countries for our tax dollars, why on earth are they considering regressive European taxes? These people are not serious. They can’t even manage to tax the wealthy, and I mean wealthy not high wage earners., like hedge fund managers, in a serious way. There is no talk of seriously going after wealth distribution in this country at a time like this, when we continue to look more and more like Mexico. That’s a bad sign for democracy. There are no TR’s or FDR’s. There are two plutocratic Parties. I’,m not holding my nose to vote for either of these ships of fools and thieves.

    • These people are not serious.

      …. until there is blood, not just in the street, but in their living rooms, they will push and push and steal and push some more. . …until they are stopped. I’m not advocating violence .THEY ARE . There is no floor to their greed. None.

    • I’m with you on this. I actually spent the years from 1974 through 1995 voting third party (ANY third party); Clinton got me to vote major party, then BushCheney scared me so badly I HAD to vote major party (like it did any good). The ’08 primary made me go back to my old ways, and I will never be tempted again to go with a D or R. It’s discouraging when you’re never on the winning side — or the losing side for that matter. You’re one of the .5 – 2% who often don’t even see results for the candidate you voted for. But at least I can live with myself. I don’t understand how people who “hold their noses” or vote “lesser of two evils” can respect themselves.

  34. Wonk, you are a genius…

    They see their glossy reflections in the mirror of Obama and think the song is about them.

    That’s why he can do no wrong . Obama could club baby seals to death on the White House lawn and it would be fine. Let’s not wait for these numb nuts to ” get it” …that will be forever. They want their creative asses coddled and protected while pretending to be striding the moral high ground and they know Barry will deliver for them…he has already. They see what’s he’s doing and are HAPPY with it.. imo

  35. If you dare to even raise an eyebrow as to why the latest iteration of progressivism looks more and more like privatization, Obamapologists are bound to accuse you of asking questions out of economic resentment, political ignorance or obstinacy, primary sour grapes, latent racism, or Debbie Downer handwringing. Bittergate lives on. Their audacity to persist in their Hope-coma at the cost of not seizing any opportunity to advance the policy argument to the left is stunning. Their ability to suspend critical thought altogether and focus the harshest and most sustained of their attacks on the disenfranchised (the unwashed masses of Walmart who vote against their own fat ass interests, oh the humanity!) while excusing the people in power (pols will be pols!) is just sad.

    good stuff Wonk!!!!!

    • Oh, and the other neutering statement … Hillary would have been no better….

      • Repeated over and over again. Problem is that people who say that are essentially saying, “they are identical in every respect except one is a black male, and the other is a woman.” They make me doubly angry when they follow with: “I would have voted for her had she won the nomination.” No they wouldn’t have. They sat back and defended the Rules committee.

  36. Read this at 5AM this morning with all the comments, but you know, that Canadian thing gets in the way – none of my business, but I do enjoy intelligent, well researched arguments expressed well, and I loved those quote. I’ve been back a few times since then, and Wonk, and all the commenters, you are a force in your own right, however with the concentration on two arms of the same corporatist party, and the indoctrination of decades, it’s difficult to see past either or.
    We have 5 parties in parliament – but approximately 8 parties field candidates during elections. The major parties advise that all those fringe parties (i.e. those outside of the two) split the vote, split parliament and stop any work getting done. Quite frankly, the only time we get any work done that favours anyone other than the elite is when there is no majority, and each party has to negotiate with the other.
    One of our parliamentary parties is specific to Quebec only, and quite frankly, if they were a national party, they would have many, many votes because their platform, and their leader …. anyway, we’re not discussing my country. My point is that the only way that the gridlock can be broken (as happened here in the 60’s) is if people stop being party drones and start doing the individualist stuff about which Americans used to pride themselves.
    BTW, there are a lot of Canucks who would disagree with me…. but without those fringe parties we would not have universal health care. It’s under a lot of pressure right now, but after 40 years, there’s no way of turning off the tap.

    • BTW, just to clarify, I am a liberal through and through, although I have fiscally conservative wrt to war spending, and pork projects. And yes, the head of the Separatiste partie, Lucien Bouchard (the Quebec Centric party), is the only one whose honesty appeals.

  37. After the 2008 primaries I decided that I will not vote for another Democrat until the entire leadership of the party has been replaced by actual liberals. I won’t be threatened by the, “What if the Republicans win” bullshit argument. If the Republicans win it will be because millions of liberals, like myself, can no longer support the corruption that is today’s Democratic Party.

  38. Wonk, thank you for parts 1 and 2.

    I’m bringing you a bit of o/t humor from
    The Onion’s “post office extends hours to 3a.m. to attract late-nite bar crowd”:

    “bouncers have been brought in to deal with violence at several of the participating branches, and complaints of overflowing mailboxes have been voiced by residents of the small northeastern port town of Fuck, ME.”

  39. It is important to remind ourselves occasionally that the staunchest opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was Democrats, not Republicans. If memory serves me correctly, that act actually received more R votes than Dem. Some of the most progressive changes in America were either 3rd party or they actually came from Rs (especially T. Roosevelt). So Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee have a long history.

    I am reminded by our Canadian commenter above that both of our current parties have probably done their best when they had to negotiate with each other. I think that was very true in the Clinton years. And Clinton was elected to his first term partly because of 3rd party politics. I think we have been at our worst when one party controlled everything. I think that will shape how I vote in the future—no more one party rule.

    • Dixiecrats….remember they all became Republicans after the Act, and it was passed under a Democrat. Democrats have done great things. It’s not that they haven’t. The Problem today is the Bill Bradley wing has taken over, and they are not a particularly honest bunch. They really don’t share the core principles of the Democratic base.

    • Many of those Democratic pols who refused to support the Civil Rights and Voting Acts are–such of them as are still breathing–currently or recently have been high up in the Republican Party leadership. Trent Lott, for one. It was their departure that allowed the D’s to become a more liberal party, however temporarily. And it was their swamping out the Republican moderates and liberals–the Rockefellers, Lindsays, Brookes–that turned the Republican Party into the way back time machine it is today.

  40. OT: via Greenwald
    Wikileaks may be releasing another video soon, of an airstrike that killed 80+ civilians in May 2009.

  41. great article…you hit the nail on the head…

    the only thing I would add is that although I agree there is only one party and both are corrupt (I also expected so much more from the dems)…

    …at the very least the other corrupt party plays the charade of one person, one vote…unlike the dems who not only did not count Florida and Michigan but are still stuck with all those rigged caucuses…what’s the point…

    the dems have it all rigged…they don’t count your vote and they ram thru legislation with 219 dem votes…almost a coup with the majority of the country against their foisting the IRS on all of us to buy a fraudulent private product…

    and they are going to do it their way regardless…

    • The D’s are no worse than the R’s, which means they’re both highly toxic. The D’s refused to count FL and MI this time around, the R’s refused to count FL in 2000 and foisted W and eight catastrophic years of looting and mismangement on the nation. Not a whole lot of respect for one person/one vote in that episode of highway election robbery.

      • Thanks, you beat me to it. Agreed. After Florida 2000, the Dems had the moral high ground–they have gone out of their way since then to throw it away.

    • S – Angeltour, thanks for reading and commenting. I completely understand being fed up with the Dems, but If you’re still around, maybe you can clarify something.

      …at the very least the other corrupt party plays the charade of one person, one vote…

      Sincere question — which party would that be? I agree that it’s not the Dems, but it’s not the GOP either. Don’t forget that the GOP laughed off the disenfranchisement that happened in 2000. While the Dems proved they were hypocrites with their shenanigans during the 2008 primaries (and arguably the real election was between Obama and Hillary and not between Obama and McCain), that doesn’t change anything about the GOP. They don’t give a damn about our right to franchise. They disenfranchised during a *general election.*

      This is the legacy of the “legacy parties” :

      Choose between a) being disenfranchised on a technicality (The parties aren’t obligated to pick the nominee that the grassroots wants) or b) being disenfranchised on another technicality (The electoral college/Supreme Court is what matters, not people’s votes).

      Maybe if a third party ever does take hold and make a dent, it will be the one to take up the banner of one person, one vote.

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